Raleigh considers Stage 3 water restrictions

March 19, 2008 5:44:04 PM PDT
Falls Lake is now nearly 75 percent full. Raleigh's usable water supply is pushing 300 days. Ironically, that means it's actually a good time to draft even tougher water restrictions than are currently on the books.

"It's more long-term preparation, thank goodness, opposed to short-term need now," said Mary-Ann Baldwin, City Council Member.

Eyewitness News has obtained a list of possibilities that could become part of a so-called Stage 3 of water restrictions. In includes 7 suggestions for outdoor water uses and 24 suggestions for indoor water uses. Some of the considerations for Stage 3 are radical.

Among them:

  • The suspension of building permits for new construction -- effectively a building moratorium
  • Increasing water rates by 100 percent
  • Prohibiting toilets and requiring outhouses at large venues like the RBC Center
  • Requiring homes that are for sale have low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and other devices
  • Preventing restaurants from selling beverages larger than 20 ounces

"We tried to look at out of the box ideas," said Ed Buchan, Raleigh's Water Conservation Specialist.

"I have browsed it," Baldwin said of the list. "It's very disheartening to see what would have to happen under that kind of ban."

The city council would likely cut many of the possible restrictions of this list before approving it.

The important thing, many said, is to take advantage of a filling-up Falls Lake and make Stage 3 a reality now.

"I think it's a necessary step, because if we ever get in this position again, we won't have to create a Stage 3 in a very short period of time," Buchan said.


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